Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Witness Toolkit | University of West Florida
Skip to main content

Witness Toolkit

The role of a witness is to provide a statement about the events in question. This toolkit will address the role of witnesses and how they can participate in the conduct process.

What is a Hearing?

Hearings are run by the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities (SRR) with assistance from the UWF Hearing Board. The UWF Hearing Board is composed of 50% professional members and 50% active UWF students. Hearings are held to ensure that all matters concerning the Student and Academic Codes of Conduct are dealt with swiftly and appropriately in order to uphold the highest community standards possible. 

The hearing is the formal process in which a charged respondent is able to present information defending themselves to the Hearing Board. In addition, the charging party has the ability to present evidence to support the charges brought about. The Hearing Board listens to all parties and makes an impartial decision.

Role of a Witness

The role of a witness is to provide a statement about the events in question. In some cases, the charged respondent will invite a witness to advocate on their behalf; in other scenarios, UWF will call upon witnesses to assist the charging party. 

As a witness, it is your responsibility to provide a statement. This can be done in person or submitted as a notarized written statement.

Return to What's Included

Opening Statement

What is an Opening Statement?

Opening statements are crucial to the hearing process. All parties, including witnesses, charged respondents, and, in some cases, complainants, are allowed and encouraged to make opening statements. 

An opening statement is the party’s first opportunity to address the Hearing Board about the events that took place. The reading of each party's opening statement is generally followed by questioning by the Hearing Board for clarification purposes. 

The opening statement can be delivered in person or in a written statement. If you plan to submit a written statement, be sure to get it notarized before submitting it to the SRR. 

What Should I Include in an Opening Statement?

When writing an opening statement, there are a few things to consider.

  • You will want to detail the event that you were a witness to or participated in.
    • Be sure to include as much detail as possible. It is at the party’s discretion to include historical details. 
  • You will want to detail how the event made you feel and how you reacted to the event. 
  • It's important to discuss how the event impacted your or others’ ability to be successful at UWF.
Where Do I find a Notary?

Campus notaries are located on the UWF main campus and in three remote locations. Their services are free and open to all UWF students. Please be sure to check with each department, as an appointment may be necessary to receive services. 

Please note that the Office of the Registrar only notarizes university-related documents; notary requests here may need to be supported by the requesting department.

Return to What's Included

What to Expect

How to Prepare for Uncomfortable Situations

While the SRR tries to streamline the hearing process as much as possible, there are times when it can become uncomfortable. An example of this is when a witness has to give a statement in the same room as the charged respondent or has to go through the questioning phase of a hearing. Please note that a witness will only be present in the hearing to give their statement and be questioned; they will then be excused. 

The SRR is readily available and willing to work with witnesses who wish to be mentored through the hearing process. Please note that if, as a witness, you need a break at any time in the hearing, you will be granted permission to do so. Please keep in mind that a witness is allowed to have an advisor present for Title XI hearings only.

Participating Separately from the Charged Respondent

As a witness, we understand that sometimes it is uncomfortable to give a statement while in the same room as the charged respondent. In an effort to keep you as comfortable as possible, the SRR is able to offer the option of witness participation free of contact with the charged respondent.

Return to What's Included